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Skateboarding veterans Rune Glifberg, Dallas Oberholzer compete in Tokyo

Skateboarding veterans Rune Glifberg, Dallas Oberholzer compete in Tokyo
Posted at 6:49 PM, Aug 04, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-04 23:36:22-04

The first three skateboarding competitions in Tokyo — women's and men's street and women's park — have been all about the youth. The oldest gold medalist so far is 22-year-old Yuto Horigome, and in women's park, the combined age of all three medalists is 44.

Skateboarding was added to the Tokyo Games lineup, even, as a part of a wider initiative to grow the Olympics' appeal with younger audiences by way of sports that are particularly popular in the host nation.

But Thursday's men's park competition threw things back to the early days of the sport: 46-year-olds Rune Glifberg and Dallas Oberholzer competed in prelims, finishing in in 19th and 20th place, respectively.

Glifberg, nicknamed "The Danish Destroyer," turned professional in the early 1990s. The 12-time X Games medalist, including at the first edition of the event in 1995, was featured in the first version of the "Tony Hawk's Pro Skater" video game in 1999. And now, he's added to his list of "firsts" by taking part in skateboarding's first appearance in the Olympics. 

"For him to be here, competing at this level at the age he's at, him being able to hang with the little guys, it's amazing," American skateboarder Zion Wright said about Glifberg's performance in Tokyo, according to Reuters.

SEE MORE: Skateboarder Dallas Oberholzer, 46, competes in Tokyo

The South African Oberholzer, who's about eight months younger than Glifberg, first picked up a skateboarding in the mid-1980s. What he lacks in hardware compared to Glifberg he makes up for in pure passion of the sport and a belief in its ability to bring people from all backgrounds together.

That belief led him to found "Indigo Youth Movement," a non-profit that aims to "create safe spaces," including new skateparks, and provide access to mentors and to skateboarding programs to "promote the wellbeing" of South African youth.

On Thursday, Glifberg's highest score came on his second run, where he earned a 37.61. Oberholzer topped out at 24.08.

The pair aren't the only skateboarding legends in Tokyo, however. Tony Hawk himself is on the scene to serve as NBC's skateboarding correspondent, even taking the park course for a test run ahead of competition.